FY08 Joint Budget Conference

The House and Senate have announced a conference agreement of the Joint Budget Resolution for FY08 (PDF), a key step in the annual appropriations process once it’s passed by both chambers. The General Science, Space and Technology account, known as Function 250, is the total budget amount for NASA (except aviation programs), NSF, DOE Office of Science and DHS S&T. Research funding in Function 250 fares well in the conference agreement, growing by $1.7 billion over the FY 2007 level, which budget committee members intend to use to “provide significant increases for NSF and the DOE Office of Science and fully fund the President’s FY2008 request for NASA at $17.3 billion” (according to the report accompanying the resolution).
While this sounds like great news, like everything in Washington, it isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds. As we wrote in this space on the FY07 budget resolution (PDF), the budget resolution really only helps the appropriators and the congressional leadership set the overall level of funding for the year, not the agency-by-agency numbers. The leadership will use the resolution to determine how much money goes to each appropriations subcommittee and the subcommittee will then decide how much each agency in their jurisdiction gets. This all means that we need to continue working to ensure that everyone on the Hill knows how important basic research funding is and that the Appropriations bills should fully fund the American Competitiveness Initiative.
We will keep you updated as the Appropriations process moves forward.